Bio


I am an anthropologist of science and medicine interested in how social identities, health outcomes, and molecular genetic findings increasingly intersect. In my first book, The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa (Princeton, 2011), I draw on over a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in the US, France and Senegal. By bringing the lives of people with sickle cell anemia together with how the science about them has been made, The Enculturated Gene weaves together postcolonial genetic science, the effects of structural adjustment on health resources, and patient activism between Senegal and France to show how African sickle cell has been ordered in ethnic-national terms at the level of the gene. This work is situated within a larger conversation on ethics, power, and the ways that human biological material, within the context of culture, is rarely apolitical. The Enculturated Gene has won the Royal Anthropological Institute’s 2011 Amaury Talbot Prize for the most valuable work of African Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association’s 2014 Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology.

Since 2003, I have also conducted multi-sited field research in the United States on emergent technologies that measure human genetic diversity among populations and between individuals. As an outgrowth of this research, I have become particularly interested in how scientists promote civic ideas of “genetic citizenship,” how they enlist participant involvement in specific disease research problems, and how they also contribute to social movements of historical reckoning. In its detail, this second book project explores how U.S. political concepts of diversity, usually glossed as “race,” function in genetic recruitment protocols and study designs for research on complex diseases, “tailored medicine,” ancestry tracing, and personal genomics. This project will also examine the fraught relationship between private property and personal privacy with regards to biogenetic data.

My work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Andrew and Florence White Fellows program in Medicine and the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. I have also been an invited scholar at the Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation in Paris (1997-1998, 2000 and 2002), a USIA Fulbright Scholar to Senegal, a fellow at the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2004-2005), and a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health (2005-2007). I recently completed a Scholars Award in NSF's Science & Society Program to research my second book called Tabula Raza: Mapping Race and Human Diversity in American Genome Science.

Academic Appointments


  • Associate Professor, Anthropology

Administrative Appointments


  • Junior Research Specialist, Institute for the Study of Social Change (1994 - 1996)
  • Research Assistant, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics (1995 - 1996)
  • Research Assistant, Department of Medical Anthropology, University of California, San Francisco (1995 - 1996)
  • Graduate Fellow, National Science Foundation (1996 - 1999)
  • International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), Social Science Research Council (2000 - 2001)
  • Research Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure (2001 - 2002)
  • Dissertation Fellow, Townsend Center for the Humanities, University of Califronia, Berkeley (2001 - 2002)
  • Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellow, National Academies of Science (2001 - 2002)
  • Andrew and Florence White Fellow in Humanities and Medicine, University of California, Irvine (2002 - 2003)
  • Invited Scholar, Ecole des Mines de Paris, Centre de sociologie de l'innovation (CSI) (1997 - 1997)
  • Invited Scholar, Ecole des Mines de Paris, Centre de sociologie de l'innovation (CSI) (2000 - 2000)
  • Invited Scholar, Ecole des Mines de Paris, Centre de sociologie de l'innovation (CSI) (2002 - 2002)
  • Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Science Foundation, New York University (2003 - 2005)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard School of Public Health and Department of History of Science (2005 - 2007)
  • Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African-American Studies, Harvard University (2007 - 2011)
  • Associate Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University (2011 - 2012)
  • Associate Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University (2012 - Present)

Honors & Awards


  • Louise Patterson Academic Achievement Award, African American Student Development (1994, 1996-1998)
  • McNair Scholar, University of California, Berkeley (1994)
  • Rocca Scholar for Advanced African Studies, University of California, Berkeley (1999-2000)
  • Scholars Award, National Science Foundation (2009-2012)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar, Harvard University (2005-2007)
  • Graduated summa cum laude (BA), University of California, Berkeley (1994)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (2004 - 2005)
  • Member, Phi Beta Kappa National Honors Society (1994 - Present)
  • Member, African Studies Association
  • Member, American Anthropological Association
  • Member, American Ethnological Society
  • Member, 4S Society for the Social Studies of Science
  • External grant reviewer, National Science Foundation
  • Manuscript reviewer, American Ethnologist
  • Manuscript reviewer, American Sociological Review
  • Manuscript reviewer, Biosocieties
  • Manuscript reviewer, Current Anthropology
  • Manuscript reviewer, Ethnicity and Health
  • Manuscript reviewer, Food and Foodways: Explorations in the History and Culture of Human Nourishment
  • Manuscript reviewer, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
  • Manuscript reviewer, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
  • Manuscript reviewer, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
  • Manuscript reviewer, Medical Anthropology
  • Manuscript reviewer, Medical Anthropology Quarterly
  • Manuscript reviewer, Political and Legal Anthropology Review
  • Manuscript reviewer, Science as Culture
  • Manuscript reviewer, Social Science & Medicine
  • Manuscript reviewer, Science, Technology & Human Values

Program Affiliations


  • Science, Technology and Society

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco, Medical Anthropology (2002)
  • M.A., University of California, Berkeley, Anthropology (1997)
  • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, Social Sciences (1994)

2016-17 Courses


All Publications


  • A Heart for the Work: Journeys through an African Medical School (Book Review) AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST Book Review Authored by: Fullwiley, D. 2012; 114 (3): 557-558
  • Can DNA 'Witness' Race?: Forensic Uses of an Imperfect Ancestry Testing Technology Race and the Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth and Culture. Fullwiley, D. edited by Krimsky, S., Sloan, K. Columbia University Press. 2011
  • The Enculturated Gene: Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa Fullwiley, D. Princeton University Press. 2011
  • Revaluating genetic causation: Biology, economy, and kinship in Dakar, Senegal AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST Fullwiley, D. 2010; 37 (4): 638-661
  • The biologistical construction of race: 'Admixture' technology and the new genetic medicine SOCIAL STUDIES OF SCIENCE Fullwiley, D. 2008; 38 (5): 695-735

    Abstract

    This paper presents an ethnographic case study of the use of race in two interconnected laboratories of medical genetics. Specifically, it examines how researchers committed to reducing health disparities in Latinos with asthma advance hypotheses and structure research to show that relative frequencies of genetic markers characterize commonly understood groupings of race. They do this first by unapologetically advancing the idea that peoples whom they take to be of the 'Old World', or 'Africans', 'Europeans', 'East Asians', and 'Native Americans', can serve as putatively pure reference populations against which genetic risk for common diseases such as asthma can be calculated for those in the 'New World'. Technologically, they deploy a tool called ancestry informative markers (AIMs), which are a collection of genetic sequence variants said to differ in present-day West Africans, East Asians, Europeans, and (ideally Pre-Columbian) Native Americans. I argue that this technology, compelling as it may be to a range of actors who span the political spectrum, is, at base, designed to bring about a correspondence of familiar ideas of race and supposed socially neutral DNA. This correspondence happens, in part, as the scientists in question often bracket the environment while privileging racialized genetic variance as the primary source of health disparities for common disease, in this case between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans with asthma. With their various collaborators, these scientists represent a growing movement within medical genetics to re-consider race and 'racial admixture' as biogenetically valid points of departure. Furthermore, many actors at the center of this ethnography focus on race as a function of their personal identity politics as scientists of color. This to say, they are driven not by racist notions of human difference, but by a commitment to reduce health disparities and to include 'their' communities in what they describe as the 'genetic revolution'.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0306312708090796

    View details for Web of Science ID 000259687000003

    View details for PubMedID 19227818

  • Out from under the skin: Disease etiology, biology and society: A commentary on Aronowitz SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE Fullwiley, D. 2008; 67 (1): 14-17
  • The legitimacy of genetic ancestry tests - Response SCIENCE Bolnick, D. A., Fullwiley, D., Marks, J., Reverby, S. M., Kahn, J., Tallbear, K., Reardon, J., Cooper, R. S., Duster, T., Fujimura, J. H., Kaufman, J. S., Morning, A., Nelson, A., Ossorio, P. 2008; 319 (5866): 1039-1040
  • Can DNA 'Witness' Race: Forensic Uses of an Imperfect Ancestry Testing Technology Genewatch Fullwiley, D. 2008; 21 (3-4): 12-14
  • The Molecularization of Race and Institutions of Difference: Pharmacy and Public Science after the Genome Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age Fullwiley, D. edited by Koenig, B. A., Lee, S. S., Richardson, S. Rutgers University Press. 2008: 149–171
  • Racial categories in medical practice: How useful are they? PLOS MEDICINE Braun, L., Fausto-Sterling, A., Fullwiley, D., Hammonds, E. M., Nelson, A., Quivers, W., Reverby, S. M., Shields, A. E. 2007; 4 (9): 1423-1428

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040271

    View details for Web of Science ID 000249768100002

    View details for PubMedID 17896853

  • The Molecularization of Race: Institutionalizing Racial Difference in Pharmacogenetics Practice Science as Culture Fullwiley, D. 2007; 16 (1): 1-30
  • Race and Genetics: Attempts to Define the Relationship Biosocieties Fullwiley, D. 2007; 2 (2): 221-237
  • The Science and Business of Ancestry Testing Science Bolnick, D. A., Fullwiley, D., Duster, T., Cooper, R. S., Fujimura, J. H., Kahn, J., Kaufman, J. S., Marks, J., Morning, A., Nelson, A., Ossorio, P., Reardon, J., Reverby, S. M., TallBear, K. 2007; 318 (5849): 399-400
  • Biosocial Suffering: Order and Illness in Urban West Africa Biosocieties Fullwiley, D. 2006; 1 (4): 421-438
  • Discriminate biopower and everyday biopolitics: views on sickle cell testing in Dakar. Medical anthropology Fullwiley, D. 2004; 23 (2): 157-194

    Abstract

    Many physicians in Senegal and France, where most Senegalese sickle cell specialists are partially trained, assume that genetic testing that could imply selective abortion for people with sickle cell would run counter to the religious and cultural ethics of people living in Dakar. Senegalese affected by this genetic disease, however, often cite "traditional" rationales to indicate why such testing, if offered, might appeal to them. The reluctance of medical practitioners to entertain such testing technologies for their patients evinces a protectionist attitude toward care--an attitude that emerges within a context in which family planning and a blind concentration on HIV/AIDS have created a public health system that completely overlooks sickle cell anemia. This discriminate biopower leaves everyday biopolitics largely in the hands of families faced with this disease. It falls to them to pragmatically calculate the value that genetic testing may, or may not, hold for their own lives.

    View details for PubMedID 15204084

  • Contingencies of illness: the cultural politics of sickle cell trait suffering in Senegal La drépanocytose: Regards croisés sur une maladie orpheline Fullwiley, D. edited by Lainé, A. Paris: Karthala. 2004: 243–277
  • Race, biologie et maladie: Ia difficile organisation des patients atteints de drepanocytose aux Etats-Unis. (Race, Biology, and Illness: Barriers to Sickle Cell Patient Group) Sciences Sociales et Sante Fullwiley, D. 1998; 16 (3): 129-157